By: Derek Havens
Football is back.
Week one of the NFL is upon us and the New England Patriots take the field in Buffalo against the Bills Sunday afternoon. The Bills will have a different look this season as they are led by first-year Head Coach, Doug Marrone, and rookie quarterback E.J. Manuel.
While the Patriots have dominated the Bills for the greater part of the last decade, Buffalo won’t just lay down. In the NFL, it’s a two way street. Here’s a look at how both teams can come away with a victory Sunday.
How The Bills Win:
– C.J. Spiller Explodes: The Bills best player is running back, C.J. Spiller. Spiller is a dynamic, explosive, playmaker who can break a game wide-open. The Pats normally do a great job against the run, but Spiller could easily help the Bills hang around. He’s a threat in the run and passing game.
– Patriots Shoot Themselves in the Foot: New England is a superior team, plain and simple. However, when the team has lost to less challenging opponents in the past, they have turned the ball over. If Brady is not on the same page with the new receivers, throws interceptions or players fumble the ball, the team could be in trouble. The Bills home crowd will be fired up and any momentum could make this a dog fight.
Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady could take advantage of a beat up Bills secondary Sunday. (FILE:USPresswire)
– Manuel Goes Deep: Manuel may have been the most talented quarterback in this draft, but the question will be if he can put it all together. One aspect of his game that is reportedly sharp already, is his deep ball accuracy. If the Bills can take advantage of a Patriots secondary that has struggled with the deep pass in recent years, it could be a different game.
How The Patriots Win:
Lean on the Run Game: The Patriots have a strong running game with a stable of young, talented backs. The passing game will be a work in progress, so leaning on the run will be a good way to set the tempo and establish physicality from the start. Ridley, Vereen and Blount should all get involved. I expect two 100-yard rushers from New England.
Attack: The Bills have a rookie quarterback, so the patriots should mix up coverages and use a variety of blitz packages to force quick decisions that could ultimately result in a turnover. Chandler Jones should thrive and have a big game. New England would be wise to also use linebackers Dont’a Hightower and Brandon Spikes when bringing pressure, as they have shown to be effective. Offensively, the Pats should take their chances down field with Buffalo missing their top two defensive backs, Stephon Gilmore and Jarius Byrd.
Eliminate the Big Play: As previously mentioned, the Bills could pose a threat to the Patriots secondary and have an explosive running back in Spiller. New England’s ability to eliminate the big play will be important. If Buffalo cannot make any splash plays and hang in the game, they could be put in a deep hole early.
Prediction: Patriots 31, Bills 16
Do you have a Twitter account? Be sure to follow me: @PatriotsHaven!